Handling Climate Change Exposure, Vulnerability, and Risk at the Coast: Everything We are Doing is Wrong!

01nov12:00 pm1:00 pmHandling Climate Change Exposure, Vulnerability, and Risk at the Coast: Everything We are Doing is Wrong!


Fitzpatrick, Side B Auditorium

101 Science Drive, Research Dr


(Monday) 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm(GMT-04:00) View in my time

Event Details

Handling Climate Change Exposure, Vulnerability, and Risk at the Coast: Everything we are Doing is Wrong!


The Duke Center on Risk and Duke Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering are pleased to welcome Dr. Robert S. Young for a seminar on coastal resilience on Monday, November 1st from 12:00-1:00pm. Find more information about the seminar and Dr. Young below. We hope you can join!

About the Seminar

Despite our best efforts and the expenditure of billions of dollars annually, we are making little progress in coastal resilience. This is despite the fact that coastal engineering projects now dominate the sediment budget along many shorelines like that of New Jersey. The rush to embrace green infrastructure will provide temporary shoreline stabilization in some coastal settings, but will ultimately leave us with neither protection nor the promised ecosystem services. Our efforts towards coastal retreat and buyouts (a truly long-term solution) are restricted largely to low income communities and communities of color. Resort communities continue to receive massive public subsidies to remain in place while supporting the value of investment property. Ultimately, the solution to resilience in much of the coastal zone is not continued public investment, but rather large-scale public disinvestment from much of the oceanfront. And, the only hope for the long-term preservation of coastal ecosystems is not to try to rebuild them in front of homes and roads, but to allow them to move landward as sea level rises. Maybe not everywhere, but in strategic settings.

About Robert S. Young, PhD, PG

Robert S. Young is the Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, a joint Duke University/Western Carolina University venture. He is also a Professor of Geosciences at Western Carolina University and a licensed professional geologist in three states (FL, NC, SC). The Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS) is a research and policy outreach center serving the global coastal community. The primary mission of PSDS is to conduct scientific research into coastal processes, storm impacts, hazard vulnerability and sea level rise and to translate that science into management and policy recommendations through a variety of professional and public outreach mechanisms. The Program specializes in evaluating the design and implementation of coastal engineering and restoration projects and helping communities develop coastal adaptation strategies.

Dr. Young received a BS degree in Geology (Phi Beta Kappa) from the College of William & Mary, and MS degree in Quaternary Studies from the University of Maine, and a PhD in Geology from Duke University where he was a James B. Duke Distinguished Doctoral Fellow. Dr. Young serves on Editorial Boards of the Journal of Coastal Research and Environmental Geosciences. He currently oversees more than $5.5 million in grant-funded research projects related to coastal science and management. He has been awarded Western Carolina University’s highest honor for scholarship (University Scholar Award) and service (Paul A. Reid Distinguished Service Award). He is an elected Fellow of the Geological Society of America. Washington State presented him an award for Excellence in Environmental Education and Diversity in Action for his work with science education in Native American communities. And, he was named a Fulbright Senior Scholar for the 2012-2013 academic year where he worked on the development of coastal management planning along the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria. The North Carolina Coastal Federation presented him with the Pelican Award for Coastal Stewardship.

Dr. Young is a frequent contributor to the popular media. He has written numerous articles for outlets like the New York Times, USA Today, Architectural Record, the Houston Chronicle, and the Raleigh News and Observer, among others. He regularly appears on programs like PBS Now, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, National Public Radio, and many others. He is co-author of two books, The Rising Sea and co-editor of Geologic Monitoring, both released in 2009. Finally, Dr. Young has testified before congress and numerous state legislatures on coastal issues. He currently serves the State of South Carolina as a member of the Governor’s Flood Commission and the State of Virginia on the Technical Advisory Committee for the state’s Coastal Master Plan.

He is leading a major project for the National Park Service to identify the vulnerability of all coastal park assets to coastal storms, erosion and sea level rise for the purpose of adaptation planning.

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